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U.S. Open. Phil is in Charge

Phil Mickelson is in charge, and the only player at the U.S. Open who is in red figures at Merion Golf Club, after three rounds have been completed.

Phil alone at the top

Phil Mickelson / Getty Images

Phil had an even par round today, which was good enough to elevate him to the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open. He has recorded five previous second place finishes in this tournament, but is now in control at Merion, leading by one shot going into the final round. Saturday is usually referred to as moving day, but no one at  the top of the board moved forward today. The good thing for Phil is that this is the first time ever he has enjoyed having the 54 hole lead at a U.S. Open, that must auger well for him;

” It’s a hard challenge, but it’s a lot of fun, every shot requires such great focus because a penalty can bite you quickly. I can’t wait to get back and playing. I feel good ball-striking, I feel good on the greens. I think it’s going to take an under-par round tomorrow.”

One shot back at even par, and tied in second place for the tournament are; Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker.

Another shot further back on +1 over par are; Justin Rose, Billy Horschel and Luke Donald.

Luke was cruising through his round, having had the outright lead until two equally poor swings on the last two holes. A 2-iron into the bunker on the par three 17th, that led to a bogey, and followed that with a shot into ankle-deep rough down the right side of the 18th green that led to a double bogey. And just like that, one of the best rounds of the day turned into a 71, and he was suddenly two shots behind. He also managed to miss three short putts as well earlier on, which in the end really hurt his final score.

Best round of the day went to Ricky Fowler, a -3 under par 67, but he is still at +3 over par for the tournament. It was tough going today for the players, but tomorrow will be even tougher, with some pins in the usual most difficult places. As I said a couple of days ago, the winner of this tournament may well not break par at the finish.


Sad Sergio Garcia took a beating on the 15th hole, carding a 10 after going out of bounds with his tee shot,three times. He finished the round at +11 over par, when he could have been in contention.

World number one Tiger Woods had another disappointing day, a third round of +6 over par 76 has destroyed any ideas he may of had about making a late charge here on Sunday. He is currently at +9 over par for the tournament. Not fairing much better was his business buddy Rory McIlroy, the World number two finished one shot better at +8 over par, after his third round 75. The way these two are actually playing they may not be numbers one and two for too much longer.

Tiger Commented;

“It certainly is frustrating, I’m playing well enough to do it, and unfortunately just haven’t gotten it done.”


U.S. Open. Tight As At The Top, 2nd Day.

It’s Tight as at the top of the leaderboard when play was suspended due to darkness in the second round of the USGA U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.

Top pair

Billy Horschel and Phil Mickelson, tied at the top / Getty Images

Billy shot a second round of  -3 under par 67 for his -1 under par total, hitting all eighteen greens in regulation,while Phil had a disappointing +2 over par to slip back to -1 under par.

Billy actually said he was not in the zone today;

“I was not in the zone, trust me, the golf course, even though it’s soft, is still a tough golf course. I know what in the zone is for me, I don’t get nervous, I just see the shot and go. And I saw the shot and went with it, but I was still nervous with a lot of them. Your misses here can be bad if you miss in the wrong spots. I was just focused on what I tried to do. I didn’t know I hit every green until I walked off 18. It’s a cool thing. I’ve done it plenty of times in my career; obviously it’s a U.S. Open, but I think the softness of the greens helped that.”

Phil managed to birdie the last hole to back into a tie for the top spot, at -1 under par, Billy and Phil are the only two players to finish under par on the day.

There are five players tied in third place, just one shot back at even par; Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, who was one of those who have not completed the second round, currently played 14. The Chinese amateur Cheng Tsung Pan, he played nine, and John Senden who had finished his round before the gloom took over.

Luke said it is getting harder;

” U.S. Opens get harder as the week goes on, the pins today were a lot more tucked. They were tougher to get to. A few were on little hills or slopes. It’s very difficult to make those putts when the ball is breaking so much.”

Tiger Woods, currently tied in 17th place at +3 over par, agreed with Luke’s statement about it being tough;

“It’s hard with the wind and the pin locations, they’re really tough. We knew they were going to be in tough areas, but we didn’t think they were going to be as severe as they are. Am I surprised? absolutely not. Unless you played practice rounds out here and you’ve seen the golf course, you don’t realize how difficult it is. Because the short holes are short, but if you miss the fairway, you can’t get the ball on the green. And the longer holes are brutal. And this is probably the stiffest set of par three’s we ever face. And then they’ve thrown some of the pin locations in that they have, and it’s really tough. Just keep grinding, you just don’t ever know what the winning score is going to be. You don’t know if the guys are going to come back. We have a long way to go, and these conditions aren’t going to get any easier. They’re going to get more difficult. As the fairways start drying out, the ball is going to pick up mud and you’re going to get bad breaks.”

Rory McIlroy is just happy to be tied with Tiger on +3 over par;

“I’m very happy, right in there for the weekend. I don’t think I’ll be too far away by the end of the day. In a nice position going into the last two days.”

The projected cut is at +7 over par, at the moment, but there are plenty of payers who still have to complete their second rounds, some of them only at the half way stage. It will be another long day tomorrow for them. My prediction of the winner not finishing under par still looks like a good bet.





U.S. Open. 1st Round Suspended, Luke Donald at the top.

1st round play was suspended at the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club with Luke Donald leading the way at -4 under par, after completing 13 holes. It is actually just like I thought it would be, a rain-fest tournament.

Luke Donald / Getty Images

Luke said he thought the greens were a bit slow, because of the rain;

“The greens are a lot slower than we thought they’d be, because of the rain. And you could be an a bit more aggressive with the stroke. I saw the lines pretty well today and made some good putts.” 

Phil Mickelson was tied in second place after he had completed his opening round at -3 under par, 67. Sharing the second spot with him is Adam Scott, who has yet to complete his round, having only played eleven holes.

Flying high

Phil Mickelson / Getty Images

Phil is determined to win a U.S. Open but has some strange preparation ideas. He traveled to the course from San Diego, about 2,400 miles in the air and then another 7,000 yards on the golf course. He took a short nap on his private jet from San Diego and grabbed another one during a rain delay when he found a secluded corner of the library room in the Merion clubhouse. Phil has five wedges in his bag, but no driver.

“If I’m able, and I believe I will,  if I’m able to ultimately win a U.S. Open, I would say that it’s great, because I will have had a win and five seconds. But if I never get that win, then it would be a bit heart-breaking. Being able to tune in and tune out was kind of nice the last hole or two, it’s been a long day.”

The opening round will not be completed until Friday morning, giving Phil plenty of time to catch up on his sleep as he won’t have to tee it up again for another 24 hours.

Players from the afternoon tee times were the ones left with holes to complete, the farthest anyone had got around the course  was 14 holes and the last group to tee off was through just four. All will now have to return at 7:15 a.m.tomorrow to complete their opening rounds.

There are three players tied in fourth place, at -2 under par, Webb Simpson, eight holes, Matthew Goggin, six holes, and Alistair Presnell, who has also played six holes.

Rory McIlroy is at even par through eleven holes, with business buddy Tiger Woods struggling at +2 over par, and has a four-foot par putt to make on number ten when he returns first thing in the morning.

The leaderboard is tightly bunched, and the way things are going the winner may not even break par over the four rounds, to lift the Trophy.

Another Rain Fest. U.S. Open at Merion.

Heavy rain at the U.S. Open, at Merion,  for  the first day of practice has havoc among the players.The course was eventually shut down for good later in the afternoon. This is a worldwide recurring theme this year, with weather affected events taking center stage. Events all over the World have been badly disrupted by poor weather conditions, especially copious amounts of rain.

A course worker clears water from the 16th fairway during practice for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club. Photo / AP

This is Merion /Photo / AP

Ernie Els stated;

” After the rain this morning, it’s going to be very sloppy now,you’re not going to see a firm U.S. Open this year, I’m sorry. I don’t care if they get helicopters flying over the fairways, it’s not going to dry up. We’re going to have a soft golf course this week, all week.”

The course at Merion received more than 3 inches of rain on Friday, and Monday’s downpours, all three of them , didn’t help the situation. Mike Davis the USGA executive director said;

“This golf course is not built on sand, so it’s got the heavier soils, but it is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen. If you walk this course, you know there’s hardly any flat lies at Merion.”

Adam Scott thinks with the soft fairways, it becomes more of a target.

“Obviously with it being a little soft, it becomes a little more simple than what it was, the ball is just going to stop where it lands.”

2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell has been paired with 54-year-old Jay Don Blake and Brandt JobeKiwi Steven Alker  is in the fifth final group off the tee, playing with Australians Alistair Presnell and Mathew Goggin.


Sergio and Tiger have come close to agreeing a ceasefire over they’re little spat, but although there has been a hand-shake on the practice ground, nothing is yet set in concrete, Sergio saying;


Sergio and Tiger / AP

“Obviously we saw each other yesterday on the range, I was hoping to meet him after the round, but he was gone after the round. The weather obviously didn’t help. And this morning I was here early, I didn’t see him around. Obviously he got here later on, but I did leave him a note, a handwritten note, and hopefully he can take a look at it. I understand that it’s difficult to meet up and stuff. So hopefully we’ll be able to do it. If not, at least he has read the note and he’s happy with that. I mean the note is for him, so if he wants to show you, then he can, I don’t have any problems with that. But I am not going to be the one showing you. The people have made me feel very good out there, the last couple of days, so hopefully that will continue throughout the week and the only thing I can do is give my best effort and hopefully that would give me a chance.”

Tiger’s reported comments;

“No, we didn’t discuss anything. Just came up and said Hi, and that was it. It’s already done. We’ve already gone through it all. It’s time for the US Open and we tee it up in two days.”

So I guess the spat is still simmering, lets play Major golf.

FedEx St. Jude Classic. Its Tight At The Top In Tennessee

            Click for detailed Tennessee Flag

It is tight at the top of the leaderboard in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at  T.P.C. Southwind, in Memphis Tennessee.



There are six players who tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round at the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC SouthwindNathan Green, Martin Flores, Stuart Appleby, Glen Day, Harris English and Davis Love 111 all had opening rounds of -4 under par 66. on the par 70 lay-out. This is the final event before the U.S. Open next week at Merion Golf Club, and Davis said he was excited to be back in contention;

“I still hit some bad shots, at The PLAYERS and Memorial, I felt like I was playing better than I was scoring. I think it’s rust. I’m excited to be back, and I’m anxious and I want to play better than I’m playing. I’m a little bit tired from the two 36-hole qualifiers as well. You got to be a little bit more patient and polished. That’s going to take some rounds of golf to get back. I tried to keep up with Dustin and Brandt.”

Stuart Appleby had his best round of the year, but was surprised the scoring was not lower, in the near perfect conditions;

“I thought there were some more birdies out there, I think just with the pace of the greens if you’re above the hole it’s tricky. I’m happy with the way I played today. Anybody who got under par today, the scoreboard, certainly fought to get there.”

Nathan Green lost his status last year, and was nervous seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard when he had completed his round;

“I was starting to get nervous seeing my name on the board and made two good up and downs to finish off the round, which is nice”

Phil Mickelson shot a +1 over, 71 , but said this was a ball strikers course,and he was striking the ball well;

“This is great because it’s a great test. The guy that strikes it well is going to have a big advantage, but when you do miss greens, you’ve got to be pretty sharp with your short game because the lies around the greens are some of the most difficult that we get. It’s about as good as I’ve been striking it, and I feel like there’s a good round in me.”

Behind the pace setters on the leaderboard, and  just one shot adrift are eleven players, who all had -3 under par 67′s.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Lucas Leads.

Lucas Glover leads the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after the completion of the second round at TPC Louisiana.

Round 2 highlights

Lucas Glover / Graythen / Getty Images

Lucas shot a second round of -5 under par 67, to lead the Zurich Classic tournament by just one shot at -12 under par, from Boo Weekley.

After his round Lucas emphasized the importance of good putting;

I’ve been hitting it good for a couple months and finally started making some putts. I mean I was hitting it as good as I can hit it, but at the same time, if you putt poorly!”

Boo Weekley kept in touch with the leader with a total of -11 under par, carding a second round of  -4 under par 68. Boo successfully holed out with a wedge from 105 yards for an Eagle on the par-4 10th, and that was his first hole of the round. He could not see the bottom of the flagstick, so had no idea that it had gone in;

“I couldn’t tell it went in because it’s got a little bit of an upper lip in the front of it. I saw it bounce, and then I didn’t see it no more. Then the people in the background started hollering and whooping, I was like, `Wow, that really went in.’ I didn’t believe it.”

In third place alone is D.A. Points, at -10 under par, Darren also had a second round of -4 under par 68, to stay within sight of the leaders.

Morgan Hoffman occupies fourth spot at -9 under par, with Ernie Els close behind him at -8 under par. Big Ernie was the runner-up here last year, losing out to Jason Duffner in a play-off. Jason is a little off the pace this year with a modest tournament total of -3 under par.

Ernie said he really likes the TPC Louisiana course lay-out, and is expecting to challenge again this year;

“I like the course, I obviously played well here last year and I’m just trying to set that same game plan and really wait for the course to come to me.”

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur has completed the second round with a score of -3 under par 69,to go with his even par opening round, and has made the cut once again.  Two weeks ago in the Masters he became the youngest player to ever make the cut at Augusta National, and said Thursday that he will play in a U.S. Open qualifier in two weeks in Dallas. He reported that he played well;

” I think I played a very good round today. I made a lot of birdies and a couple of good up and downs.”

The 2011 winner here, Bubba Watson recovered well from his opening round of +1 over par 73, with a second round -7 under par 65 and tournament total of -6 under par. Bubba said that yesterday he was scared of the course;

” It was good, yesterday, I played really scared. I’m trying to play good. When you do that you don’t hit quality shots and you just struggle.”


TW World Challenge, Magnificent G-Mac Wins

Full circle

Graeme McDowell, G-Mac/Dunn/ Getty Images

Graeme McDowell, G-Mac,  finished  with a 4-under par round of 68, and a tournament total of  -17 under par, to win the Tiger Woods World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual by three shots on Sunday. It was Graeme’s  first title in two years, he was determined to win as he held off the challenge of  Keegan Bradley. G-Mac was really happy with this result;

“This really caps off my season, we try not to put winning on a pedestal, but this one feels very sweet because it’s been a grind all year. Certainly I will draw some confidence from this one, the game hasn’t given me a huge amount this year. My dollar average around this country club is fairly high, I’m probably right up there in the top-five in the world in California, no doubt about it. We’ll have to look at playing a little bit more here on the West Coast. I’m over the moon to get the job done, for two years I’ve been saying things like processes and trying to get better and be patient and hopefully the wins will come. So I guess I got fed up with telling everybody that I’m playing well. I guess I’m relieved to get across the line and take some nice confidence into this little off period I’ve got coming up.”

Graeme won for the first time since he beat Tiger Woods in a playoff at Sherwood Country Club to close out a dream season in 2010, that included his first major at the U.S. Open and the winning point for Europe at the Ryder Cup.

Second placed Keegan Bradley was at -14 under par for the tournament after his final round of -3 under par 69. Bo Van Pelt finished alone in third spot at -10 under par, with a last round of -2 under par 70.

Tournament host Tiger Woods finished tied in fourth place at -9 under par, with Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler, Tiger admitted he had struggled a bit this week;

“I struggled with my game a little bit this week, I just managed myself well to get around in these conditions. It’s been a long year, and I’ve played a lot, and just really looking forward to a break. Just having nothing to do with golf for a few weeks, just put the clubs away, enjoy the holidays, be with my kids and just really enjoy that. Then after that I’ll start cranking back up again and start focusing on my shots.”

McGladrey Classic, Jim and Davis Share Lead after 54 Holes


SEA ISLAND, GA - OCTOBER 20:  Jim Furyk (L) and Davis Love III speak on the 18th hole during the third round of The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island's Seaside Course on October 20, 2012 in Sea Island, Georgia.

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111/Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111 share the lead at the McGladrey Classic at the 54 hole stage at the Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia. Both Jim and Davis had third rounds of -4 under par 66 to share the tournament total of -13 under par.

Jim said a win here at the McGladrey Classic could not erase the memories of his abject  failure to hold leads at the U.S. Open in June, the World Golf Championships,Bridgestone Invitational in August, and a 1 up lead over Sergio Garcia, with just two holes left to play in the Ryder Cup;

“I’m tougher on myself, I promise,  than anyone else is. So I’ve kicked myself 100 times already, and I’ve gotten over it. I can put it behind me and move on. There’s nothing I can do to change it. And nothing I do in the future is going to change it. I’m excited for this season to be over, only for the fact that I can turn the page and we can start talking about the future. If I looked at tomorrow as another chance to be judged in case I failed, you know, it’s been a tough year, but I could never look at it that way. It’s an opportunity for me to go out and win a golf tournament, and I’m not trying to make up for the rest of the year. What happened, happened. It’s over with. I can’t change it. I’m never going to feel good about what happened, but it’s done with. It’s an opportunity tomorrow to win a golf tournament, that’s the way I’m going to look at it.” 

Davis spoke about being able to separate his disappointment at the Ryder Cup result and playing his own golf, and also stopping Jim beating him;

“I can separate a lot of things, separate the Ryder Cup with its own experience. People were surprised I played the three weeks after, but I’d had some time off. I was ready to play. I haven’t played enough tournaments, so it’s nice to be back in the swing of things.  I’d love to keep him from it, we’re both very competitive. That’s why I picked him for the Ryder Cup team. He competes hard every time he goes out there and he gives you everything he’s got. I think it would mean a lot to both of us. It would be a pretty close tie.”

Tied in third place are D.J. Trahan and Arjun Atwal, two shots adrift of the lead after rounds of -4 under par 66, and -1 under par 69, respectively, for their -11 under par tournament totals.

Bud Cauley is alone in fifth spot after his third round of -2 under par, 68, and a tournament total of -10 under par.

It will be interesting to see if Jim and Davis spend too  much time looking at each other, and not noticing someone racing up behind them.


U.S. Open @ Olympic Club. Webb Simpson Wins, but he is over par.


Simpson takes it

Webb Simpson, 2012 U.S. Open Champion/ Franklin/Getty Images

Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open Championship at Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday, with a total score of +1 over par for the four rounds. His last round was a -2 under par effort that was enough to wrest the title out of  Jim Furyk’s grasp. Jim had led the tournament for most of the tournament, including most of the last round. Coming down the stretch an official warned him about slow play, and from that moment on Jim went into reverse, and finished with a final round of +4 over par, tied for fourth. Webb said at the end;

”I knew it was a tough golf course, I had to go out and do as well as I could.  I probably prayed more the last three holes than I’ve ever done in my life.  It helped me stay calm and get in with 2 under.”

Congratulations to Webb, but this win will reignite the discussion about the long putter, and whether the governing bodies should ban what is known as anchoring altogether. That ruling would affect the belly and the broomstick versions of the putter.

Graeme McDowell also faltered on the way in, he finished tied for second after a last round of +3 over par 73. Best round of the day went to Michael Thompson, the first round leader, he made a charge on the day with a beautifully crafted -3 under par 67, to finish tied for second with Graeme. What G-Mac or Jim wound have given for that score. Tied in fourth place with Jim were; David Toms, Padraig Harrington, John Peterson and Jason Dufner. Jason could have won this tournament easily, if only his putter had been working. I will have to contact Jason, to see if I could interest him in one of our White Dragon Putters.

Nobody else really came close, the desk jockey’s were determined to set up this course to be be as difficult as it could be. Wether it was a real test of good golf, or just down to someone getting lucky on the day, only the people who witnessed the carnage can attest. To reduce the worlds best players, to struggle to play par golf, is it a good idea ? No one was able to finish under par.

Tournament favorite Tiger Woods finished with a very disappointing round of +3 over par and tied for 21st with a final total of +7 over par. Not the result that he, or the hypers in the media were hoping for, it seems like Tiger is still not quite right yet to win another major. He said of his tournament;

“I didn’t really miss it that badly this week, the misses were just a fraction off, which is great. That’s what we want to have happen. This golf course is just so demanding that a fraction off, you pay the price. That first six, I just didn’t play well at all. I just could never get anything going positively and I missed the ball in the wrong side a couple times and that’s all it takes. There’s a lot of positives this week, hit the ball really well. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the speed of the greens until today.”

U.S.Open @ Olympic, third round, two at the top. Furyk and G Mac.


There are now only two competitors under par after the third round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, Jim Furyk is still doggedly there, he is tied at the top with Graeme McDowell. Jim and Graeme are past champions, and know how to grind out a decent score on a difficult track.

Jim Furyk had his usual workman like round of even par 70 for his tournament total of -1 under par, while G-Mac recorded a -2 under par round of 68 to equal Jim’s 54 hole total.

Graeme thinks just about anybody could still win, he said;

“It’s wide open.”

Seeking another crown

Jim & G-Mac /Getty Images

Alone in third position is  Fredrik Jacobson, of Sweden, with his third round score of -2 under par elevating him up the leaderboard, finishing at +1 over par.

One of the best rounds of the day came from Lee Westwood, he shot a three under par 67, which could easily have been better, a couple of missed putts cost him dear. Lee is only now three shots off the pace at +2 over par, he is joined on that score by a former champion Ernie Els. Another good round tomorrow and Lee Westwood could be there at the end.

Westy's week?

Lee Westwood /Shaw/Getty Images

They share that tied for fourth spot with Blake Adams, and Belgium’s big hitting Nicolas Colsaerts. Tiger Woods is tied 14th, after a lackluster third round of +5 over par, 75.  He will need an extraordinary round tomorrow if he is to contend the title, unless steady Jim Furyk falls over and gives him a hand. I think another par round for Jim tomorrow will see him lift the trophy. But someone could come up with a magical round, will be interesting to watch the jousting for position on Sunday. The course will be set up to be extra tough, as if it wasn’t hard enough already.

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